America First Credit Union Announces New EVP Chief Lending Officer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

America First Credit Union Announces New EVP Chief Lending Officer

Brett Christensen (left) takes over the role of EVP Chief Lending Officer as Randy Halley (right) retires after 43 years of service at America First Credit Union.

Riverdale, UT – January 12, 2021 – America First Credit Union welcomes Brett Christensen to its leadership team as EVP Chief Lending Officer for the leading nonprofit financial institution. He will oversee indirect lending, mortgages, consumer lending, business lending, home equity and sales.

Christensen is taking over this role from previous EVP Chief Retail and Lending Officer, Randy Halley, who is retiring after more than 43 years of service at America First Credit Union. Halley has been instrumental in developing key performance indicators for branch measurement, bringing machine learning to the credit union and driving the adoption of two critical operating systems for lending and transactions. He was also the visionary behind opening an innovation hub in downtown Salt Lake City, which has been toured by financial leaders from around the country and has provided an environment to test new banking solutions to measure efficiency and member adoption rates.

“We thank Randy for his incredible service to America First and its members,” said America First President and CEO John B. Lund. “It’s been an honor to work with him and see his vast contributions  to the credit union during his time here. I wish Randy the best in this next chapter.”

Stepping into this role with more than 28 years of credit union experience in both the U.S. and Canada, Christensen has been an industry leader working to educate and consult industry professionals on lending topics. Prior to America First, he served as the president of Loan Link Lending Center, was a senior consultant with Lending Solutions Consulting and most recently owned CU Lending Advice.

“We’re elated to add Brett to our leadership team,” said Linda Carver, America First Board Chair. “He has helped dozens of credit unions significantly improve their lending and sales results, and we’re honored to have his experience and expertise at America First. Brett is going to bring significant value to our members in this role.”

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ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 81 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First Credit Union has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country, and has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 128 locations, and is the eighth largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $14.1 billion, and the sixth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1,159,000 members.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Nicole Cypers
America First Credit Union
801.827.8655
ncypers@americafirst.com

Kelsey Richardson
R&R Partners
801-913-9454
Kelsey.richardson@rrpartners.com

CEO Announces Retirement After 46 Years with America First Credit Union

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CEO Announces Retirement After 46 Years with America First Credit Union

Riverdale, Utah – Jan. 5, 2021 – John B. Lund, president and CEO of America First Credit Union in Riverdale, Utah, has announced plans to retire in the spring of 2021, more than 46 years after first joining the institution. Thayne Shaffer, the credit union’s chief information officer (CIO), has been selected as Lund’s successor.

Since Lund became president and CEO in 2012, America First Credit Union has expanded its branch network from 104 to 128, increased assets from $5.5 billion to $14.2 billion, and membership numbers increased from 592,309 to 1,159,227.

“John, a tremendous person and a profoundly esteemed leader, has shown acuity and keenness of thought in every decision he has made,” said Linda Carver, chair of the board of directors for America First. “He has had a remarkable ability to understand and position the credit union for new opportunities to assure our long-term and continued growth. We are grateful for the extraordinary contributions John has made to propel America First and the credit union industry forward.”

Lund, whose retirement is effective April 1, 2021, quickly rose through the ranks. Most recently, he served as executive vice president. He first started in 1975 as the credit union’s courier.

“It’s been an honor to work with so many talented people and serve so many kind members,” said Lund. “I am certain America First members and colleagues will continue to thrive under Thayne’s leadership, using teamwork to strengthen relationships and our communities.”

Shaffer has worked at the credit union for more than 33 years and was appointed CIO in May 2019. His recent responsibilities included cyber security, enterprise systems, programming, database administration, quality assurance, and network operations.

“I am excited for this opportunity and will focus on executing the strategic priorities that have been set,” said Shaffer.

Most recently, Shaffer was appointed to senior vice president and controller in 2014. Between 2009 and 2019, he supervised multiple mergers and, in 2018 and 2019, served as staff coordinator for the Enterprise Risk Management committee.

 

John B. Lund is retiring as president and CEO of America First Credit Union (left). He will be replaced by Thayne Shaffer, America First’s chief information officer (right).

 

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ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 81 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First Credit Union has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country, and has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 128 locations, and is the eighth largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $14.1 billion, and the sixth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1,159,000 members.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Nicole Cypers
America First Credit Union
801.827.8655
ncypers@americafirst.com

Kelsey Richardson
R&R Partners
801-913-9454
Kelsey.richardson@rrpartners.com

America First Strives for Strength Through Adversity

Dear Members,

I think it’s safe to say 2020 will stand as a year none of us will soon forget. As I considered the events, challenges, and obstacles we faced over the past 12 months, the poem ‘Good Timber’ by Douglas Malloch came to mind:

The tree that never had to fight

For sun and sky and air and light,

But stood out in the open plain

And always got its share of rain,

Never became a forest king

But lived and died a scrubby thing.

The man who never had to toil

To gain and farm his patch of soil,

Who never had to win his share

Of sun and sky and light and air,

Never became a manly man

But lived and died as he began.

Good timber does not grow with ease:

The stronger wind, the stronger trees;

The further sky, the greater length;

The more the storm, the more the strength.

By sun and cold, by rain and snow,

In trees and men good timbers grow.

Where thickest lies the forest growth,

We find the patriarchs of both.

And they hold counsel with the stars

Whose broken branches show the scars

Of many winds and much of strife.

This is the common law of life.

Certainly, these difficult times brought us “many winds and much of strife.” However, in different ways, such experiences helped unify our communities and added a measure of compassion and understanding to the way we interact with one another. I’m grateful for the growth we achieved, the new things we discovered, the manner in which we learned to adapt, and the progress we are making.

I truly appreciate our outstanding volunteers and staff; we are fortunate to have such dedicated individuals who are committed to serving the membership, while exerting diligent efforts to keep each other and all who visit us safe.

My sincere thanks are offered to you, our members, for being patient and understanding as we continue navigating rough waters. I’m proud to say our credit union is stronger and smarter than ever. We are ready, willing, and able to meet your complete financial needs. The America First team strives to simplify a portion of your life and earning your valued loyalty. Our goal is working hard to develop & maintain a lasting relationship with you and those you love.

Sincerely,

John B. Lund, President and Chief Executive Officer

High 5: Donating Dough With Kid Bread Bakery

 

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Few things in life feel quite as comforting as freshly-baked bread.

Kid Bread Bakery is a home-based bakery in Salt Lake City that turns out delicious offerings – usually sold to boost Ellie, Henry and Penny White’s funds for camps or vacations.

“Our parents told us if we wanted to go to summer camp, we would have to earn the money ourselves,” Ellie said. “At first we were like, ‘What? No way! We can’t do that!’”

“We’re kids,” Penny said.

“It was a lot more money than we thought we could raise by ourselves,” Ellie added.

So they baked, and baked, and baked. They delivered the goods and made more dough – so much so that they decided to give back.

This year they found Brighter Futures, a foster care organization that needed help to provide a merry Christmas for those in need.

“We were like, ‘Oh my gosh. We can do that. We can help them to have a Christmas this year when otherwise they wouldn’t,’” Ellie said.

They dropped off $160 worth of gifts and money to the organization, thanks to a little flour and sugar and a whole lot of heart.

“I loved it when the coworkers were like, ‘Thank you, you are so awesome,’” Henry said.

“Kids should know that they can do a lot if they have a goal,” mom Emily White said. “If they have an aspiration or if they want to help people, they can. Kids can do a lot.”

America First Credit Union heard about what the White kids are doing, and they wanted to help out, too. They sent Kid Bread Bakery a gift card to put toward their next project.

Source

Crossing Guard, Educators Make Season Special

 

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – KSL TV has two High 5 shoutouts today, one for a crossing guard who brings some entertainment to the students heading to school, and one for an elementary principal and his neighbors who make the holiday better for others.

In Provo, Amy Wilcox is bringing lots of smiles to her neighborhood in a tough year.

She helps kids safely cross the street at 3450 North and Canyon Road – and she does it while fueling holiday cheer to everyone around.

KSL TV viewer Rebecca Weaver said Wilcox dresses up for the holidays. She wore a different costume every day through October, dressed up as Uncle Sam on Election Day, and is now dressing up as Santa and other characters from classic Christmas stories.

In West Valley City, Pioneer Elementary School principal Doug Johnson and his neighbors decided to forgo handing out gifts to each other and instead had what they called a “Night of Sharing.”

It’s the fourth year they’ve done this.

They gathered gifts and other items that parents and students at Pioneer Elementary could use during the holiday season. Then, the elementary held a gift drop-off event where families drove through, dropped off gifts, and got a picture with Santa.

Source

The Spirit Of Giving In Sanpete County

 

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It’s Wednesday, and that means KSL is once again highlighting the goodness and generosity right here in Utah. This morning, those positive vibes of volunteerism are coming from Sanpete County.

Kay Jensen has one piece of advice for people feeling down and out that may be struggling during this pandemic.

“There’s no way to feel better about yourself and about life and the world than to help somebody else,” said Kay Jensen, chairman of the Sanpete Humanitarian Council.

She’s been helping the people of Sanpete County for decades as a nurse, volunteer, organizer and mentor.

As chairman of the Sanpete Humanitarian Council, Jensen sees the direct result of her work — the “Sub 4 Santa” program, “Tree of Angels” and youth service organization bless the lives of those who are less fortunate.

And it really all comes down to paying it forward after helping hands are extended.

“They always end up coming back and paying back,” Jensen said. “If a good deed is done to them, it’s not long until they’re coming in and picking angels and they’re making stuff for Christmas and paying back.”

The council is a humble group with little more online presence than a Facebook page. But that doesn’t stop them from making a big impact, which is why Jensen nominated for a KSL High 5.

“A lot of folks down there in Sanpete (County) believe that you are that angel for so many families. What do you say to them?” KSL’s Dan Spindle asked.

“Oh, well that is so sweet of you and them. I don’t feel like I’m an angel. But I do feel like that I open a lot of doors, especially for young people,” she said.

Our friends at America First Credit Union loved what Jensen is doing, so they sent her a gift card to say thank you and help out especially this time of year.

Source

While Seeming to Have the Least, Some are Offering the Most

By John B. Lund, President & Chief Executive Officer

We have all probably experienced seeing someone in need, but may have felt helpless, lacking the resources or ability to intervene. We also likely know others who find a way to lend comfort, no matter the circumstances. One such person is named Dale and, with his permission, I will share some of his story.

Dale has faced many significant challenges and knows what it’s like to be desperate, out of work, without transportation, lacking hope, and fearing what comes next. He battled substance abuse and addiction for over 20 years. A farm-related accident left him seriously injured, spending 56 days in the hospital and another six months in a wheelchair.

While never technically homeless, Dale is familiar with sleeping in barns, vehicles, and temporary shelters. He gives much of the credit for turning his life around to the fine people in his community and church. They offered support, hosted him for dinner, provided counseling, training, and assistance in gaining employment & housing.

He now resides in the central part of Ogden, Utah. Going about his daily activities, Dale not only noticed but befriended many in the homeless population. He quickly recognized there wasn’t much he could do to address the many issues they faced; however, he still wanted to make a small difference in their lives.

With cold weather on the way, Dale decided to gather warm clothing, reaching out to those who had offered him so much when he was at risk. Using email, texts, social media and word of mouth, there was an outpouring of donated blankets, coats, sweaters, boots, socks, gloves, hats, backpacks, and more. The contributions were amazing and much was accomplished to brighten the day and season for these deserving individuals.

My wife approached Dale to thank him for giving so many of us this service opportunity. She was touched by his response. First, he was humble about organizing the effort, saying he learned firsthand from his friends about thinking of others rather than himself. For those who are homeless, he explained, “it’s a struggle to stay warm and clean. They want self-respect like everyone else.”

Dale’s compassion was strongly evident to my wife. He said that during the summer, if he ever had a little extra money, he would buy cold drinks and hand them out. “The drinks they find on the street are usually warm and not very good, but a cold soda was so much more refreshing and made them feel more normal.”

I feel personally blessed to count Dale as a friend and I’m honored to learn from his example. I was reminded to put myself in another’s shoes and recognize the positive influence we can have if we just try. This is a special season, one in which we tend to think more of others. Just as Dale has, I hope we can all be more sensitive to and considerate of those around us, not only during this time of celebration, but throughout the year.

Our mission at America First is to improve the membership’s financial well-being, stay relevant and sensitive to individual needs, and serve you in the manner that best suits your situation. We remain committed to this ideal and look forward to a lifetime relationship with you and your family. Happy holidays and best wishes for a safe and meaningful new year.

America First Credit Union invites community to experience award-winning display at Ogden Christmas Village

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

America First Credit Union invites community to experience award-winning display at Ogden Christmas Village

Riverdale, UT – November 25, 2020 – Each year, Christmas Village illuminates Ogden’s downtown area with magnificent displays and holiday lights from the Saturday after Thanksgiving through January 1. This year, America First Credit Union invites you to experience its award winning display which is one of hundreds of tiny cottages decorated to create a winter wonderland at the Ogden Municipal Gardens.

Earlier this year, America First was honored with a Multifaceted Marketing Award for the Ogden Christmas Village Cottage at the Credit Union National Association’s 2020 Diamond Awards, which recognizes outstanding marketing and business development achievements in the credit union industry.

The magical cottage features a scene set with a family of snowmen — a mom, dad and two kids — at night in “Snowybook Forest” and includes an animated storybook that flips pages as onlookers take in the enchanting display.

“We’re glad to be part of the magic of Ogden Christmas Village,” said John Coombs, America First Art Director who is the designer behind the cottage. “We’re thrilled at how the cottage turned out and the happiness it brings to people who see it. We invite you to come experience it for yourself.”

A behind-the-scenes look into the concepting and building of the cottage can be found here.

America First Credit Union’s “Snowybook Forest” display at Ogden’s Christmas Village

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ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 81 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First Credit Union has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country, and has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 128 locations, and is the ninth largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $14.1 billion, and the sixth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1,154,000 members.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Nicole Cypers
America First Credit Union
801.827.8655
ncypers@americafirst.com

Kelsey Richardson
R&R Partners
801-913-9454
Kelsey.richardson@rrpartners.com

America First Credit Union donates $19,000 to feed 78,072 Utah, Idaho, Arizona and Nevada families

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

America First Credit Union donates $19,000 to feed 78,072 Utah, Idaho, Arizona and Nevada families

Riverdale, UT – Nov. 23, 2020 – With Thanksgiving around the corner and food banks still struggling to receive food donations to keep up with the growing need, America First Credit Union (AFCU) is donating more than 63,000 meals to the Utah Food Bank for families struggling to access to food during these challenging times brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. An additional 16,548 meals were donated to other agencies, including Three Square Food Bank serving families in Clark County, Nevada.

From Sept. 8 to Oct. 30, monetary donations were collected for the credit union’s annual food drive from AFCU staff, members and community, and the credit union also donated an additional $5,000. This was the first year AFCU hosted a monetary donation drive to support local food banks. In years past, canned goods had been collected at each of the credit union’s 128 locations. In total, employees and members have donated more than 78,072 meals in addition to 200,000 pounds of food to Utah and Southern Nevada families over the past 16 years.

The money donated to the Utah Food Bank and other agencies will be used to feed families in need across Utah, Idaho, Arizona and Southern Nevada.

“This year we saw a huge demand for food assistance. To be responsible to the needs our communities, we made changes to our annual food drive due to COVID-19 by moving from canned good donations at our branches to online donations, but we knew this year is more important than ever to help local families in need,” said Nicole Cypers, AFCU vice president of PR and governmental relations. “Thanks to our wonderful employees and members, who donated to be able to provide meals to our food-insecure neighbors.”

“Thank you to America First Credit Union for your understanding of the issues of hunger in Utah,” Jeanette Bott, Utah Food bank president. “America First has collectively given throughout the state of Utah 359,637 meals since we established our partnership in 1998. Thank you for the extended help, in addition to what you’ve done this year. ”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the hunger crisis in Southern Nevada — nearly 440,000 residents, or one in five, are now food-insecure,” said Three Square Food Bank President and CEO Brian Burton. “We are incredibly thankful to America First Credit Union who has been our steadfast partner in the fight against hunger since 2017, allowing us to leverage their gift as a matching challenge to the community every year, providing an additional 90,000 meals to our neighbors in need.”

The credit union is donating $15,381 to Utah Food bank food to help individuals and families struggling with food insecurity. A virtual check presentation was presented on Nov.12 to Bott by Cypers (CLICK HERE to watch the video).

According to Feeding America, the nation’s premiere food insecurity program, food banks are feeding nearly 60 percent more people during the COVID-19 pandemic than they were in June 2019. At the same time, many food banks are seeing decreased donations from the grocery stores and manufacturers that helped them in the past.

The community can donate online to both Utah Food Bank, Idaho Food Bank, United Food Bank (Arizona) and Three Square Food Bank.

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ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 81 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First Credit Union has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country, and has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 128 locations, and is the ninth largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $14.1 billion, and the sixth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1,154,000 members.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Nicole Cypers
America First Credit Union
801.827.8655
ncypers@americafirst.com

Kelsey Richardson
R&R Partners
801-913-9454
Kelsey.richardson@rrpartners.com

America First Credit Union Continues Legacy of Supporting Veterans by Donating Items for Care Packages

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

America First Credit Union Continues Legacy of Supporting Veterans by Donating Items for Care Packages

Credit Union Participates in “Hope for Our Heroes” Campaign Dropping Care Packages

LAS VEGAS – Nov. 17, 2020 – Southern Nevada veterans were treated to a socially distanced caravan in which various community groups, including America First Credit Union (AFCU), dropped off much needed supplies. Veterans also witnessed a parade to thank them for their service during the “Hope for Our Heroes” campaign, which was organized by KTNV TV ABC 13.

On Wednesday, Nov. 11, AFCU business development representative Frank Tavares participated in the caravan visiting older veterans living in assisted living at the Nevada State Veterans Home. To combat the adverse effects of isolation during this global health pandemic, the credit union was one of several groups dropping off 300 care packages filled with goodies including blankets, books, lip balm, sanitizer, tissue, cards, letters and cookies.

“Veterans are one of our country’s greatest assets,” said AFCU president and CEO, John B. Lund. “Now more than ever, veterans need support. It’s a true honor and privilege to help veterans who have done so much for our country. America First Credit Union will continue to support programs that honor our veterans and the service that they provided to our country while making a deep impact on the critical needs that exist in our community.”

To provide much needed support to the more than 150,000 veterans living in Clark County, Nevada, this holiday season, the credit union sponsored the event that partnered with Honor Flight Southern Nevada and Kline Veterans Fund to combat emotional duress.

AFCU is a longtime supporter of veterans. Employees have volunteered with Honor Flight of Southern Nevada (HFSN) by sending guardians on missions to escort veterans to Washington, D.C., for a tour of the memorials. HFSN flies veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War on all-expenses-paid trips to Washington, D.C., to experience — among other landmarks and tourist destinations — the WWII Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Marine Corps/Iwo Jima Memorial, and the Changing of the Guard at Arlington National Cemetery.

Photo: Frank Tavares, America First Credit Union business development representative, drops off care packages to veterans.

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ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 81 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First Credit Union has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country, and has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 128 locations, and is the ninth largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $13.8 billion, and the sixth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1,151,000 members.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Nicole Cypers
America First Credit Union
801.827.8655
ncypers@americafirst.com

Jennifer López
R&R Partners
702.318.4203
jenni4fer.lopez@rrpartners.com